Key members in Missouri’s congressional delegation have different perspectives on the end of a 35-day federal government shutdown, and their perspectives are divided along party lines.
President Donald Trump (R) announced Friday afternoon that a compromise deal had been reached to re-open the federal government, adding that furloughed federal employees would receive their back pay as soon as possible.
“I want to thank all of the incredible federal workers and their amazing families, who have shown such extraordinary devotion in the face of this recent hardship,” Trump said Friday in the Rose Garden.
The “Washington Post” reports the U.S. Senate and House approved the plan by voice vote, and both chambers then adjourned. The newspaper says the plan will impact about 800,000 federal employees who had missed two consecutive paychecks.
A Democratic congressman who represents a large portion of the St. Louis region on Capitol Hill is blaming President Trump for the shutdown.
“For 35 days, the President inflicted needless suffering, pain and real damage on federal employees and our nation for absolutely no good reason. The Trump shutdown was never about border security. It was about the President’s ego and his ridiculous campaign promise,” U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D) says in a statement. He represents St. Louis City and a large portion of St. Louis County.
Clay, who’s in his tenth term on Capitol Hill and is a senior member of the state’s delegation, also says that “real leaders don’t build walls, they build bridges.”
Congressman Clay had been calling on the president to open the government first, before negotiating about border security. About 100 laid-off and furloughed federal employees met Friday morning at Congressman Clay’s St. Louis office on Gravois.
Clay says more than 12,000 federal employees in Missouri were impacted by the federal government shutdown.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R), sees it differently. Blunt, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, says it’s time for Democrats to come to the negotiating table.
“Shutdowns are bad politics and even worse government. Democrats say they’re for stronger border security. It’s time for them to get to the table. And then this process should be done through the normal structure. The president has a clear responsibility to secure the border and if Democrats cooperate we won’t end up in a place where this is done through declaring an emergency. That precedent could create real problems in the future on other issues,” Blunt says in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R), who was elected in November, tweeted Friday “After (the) President’s announcement, Democrats now have chance to demonstrate that they are truly serious about securing the border. Democrat members of Congress have said over and over that they support border security. Now it’s time to prove it.”
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, also tweeted Friday about the issue. “I’m pleased that the President has come to his senses and decided to reopen the government,” Cleaver tweeted.